There’s an an­i­mal army help­ing to save planet

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

IT IS animals to the res­cue when it comes to pro­tect­ing our home – the planet. An­i­mal species are at the front­line, shar­ing their am­ple skills to help re­solve en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

In her book An­i­mal EcoWar­riors, Tasmanian author and in­va­sive species spe­cial­ist Nic Gill tells of dogs, bees, a New Zealand par­rot, goats, rats and seals all do­ing their bit to help the planet we share.

Su­gar glid­ers are help­ing de­fend trees from swarms of de­struc­tive bee­tles and goats are at work munch­ing on in­va­sive weeds.

Bees fit­ted with tiny mi­crochips are help­ing sci­en­tists to work out why bee num­bers are falling and what this means for the rest of us. Ant-snif­fer dogs, pen­guin pro­tec­tor dogs, hero bomb-sniff­ing rats and Clay the “cat-dog” of Tas­man Is­land are all do­ing their bit.

Clay’s job de­scrip­tion ap­pears to be the per­fect fit for a mo­ti­vated ter­rier – to en­sure the is­land is cat-free. Orig­i­nally brought in as pets of the light­house keep­ers long ago and later be­com­ing feral, the project to re­move cats from the is­land be­gan in 2008.

So keen is Clay and her ca­nine clan on the whole idea, that dur­ing a TV ap­pear­ance, the ter­ri­ers spent the en­tire in­ter­view in­tensely fo­cused on the fuzzy boom mike, which for­tu­nately was just out of bit­ing range.

Trained not to bother birds on Tas­man Is­land, Clay is nev­er­the­less muz­zled, just in case the urge to chew things over­whelms her.

For the an­i­mal lover or bud­ding sci­en­tist at your house, it’s hard to go past An­i­mal Eco War­riors, Hu­mans and Animals Work­ing To­gether to Pro­tect our Planet.

Writ­ten for pri­mary to early sec­ondary read­ers, it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing and orig­i­nal read for adults too.

READ ALL ABOUT IT: An­i­mal EcoWar­riors, by Tasmanian author Nic Gill, out­lines the role animals are play­ing in con­ser­va­tion.

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